by Kathye Hamm
Due to histories of maltreatment and exposure to violence, children in foster care are three to seven times more likely than non-foster care children to have physical and mental health issues that often persist into adulthood. Up to 80% of children in foster care have significant mental health issues compared to just 22% in the general child population. As youth transition or ‘age out’ of the foster care system, they become “independent” without access to formal systems of support. Emancipated foster youth are at extreme risk of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness.
With your support, Lutheran Social Services of Northern California is able to provide critical community services to over 3500 clients in Northern California, including youth leaving the foster care system. LSS’ MiCasa program in Concord focuses on homeless and transitional age youth (TAY), who are exiting the foster care system and struggling to find housing.
The program provides supportive services and housing for nine youth, and housing for up to 24 months. Youth are provided with assistance in completing their high school diploma or GED, and enrolling in college courses. They are provided with employment skills training and mental health services. This unique program helps youth acquire the life skills they need to become self-sufficient, and to grow and thrive into their adulthood.
Blake found MiCasa when he was 18 years old. His foster mother needed to move to Southern California with family, as she could no longer afford her mortgage payments. This left Blake and his foster brother homeless and in need of housing.
Blake immediately felt at home at MiCasa, and he was thrilled to still be able to live with his foster brother. He received coaching in finding and keeping employment, and he received support in dealing with the emotional aftermath of being in the foster care system.
“Mi Casa staff has helped me by pushing me to get up early and search for jobs. They helped me find employment resources and coached me on how to inquire about employment. I am also learning to be more honest, as I have huge issues with trust. I am working on those every day. I also feel like I can take better care of myself in general,” said Blake.
The Program Coordinator helped Blake to set long term goals, and in doing so, helped him feel that he could attain his hopes and dreams. By the time he leaves MiCasa, Blake plans to have his own apartment, work a full-time job, and finally get a car.
We are so grateful for your generosity, which has enabled clients like Blake to achieve their goals. Your prayers and financial contributions make a huge difference in their lives.
For more information about LSS, please visit us online at www.lssnorcal.org.
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